We are staying for four nights in the Bernese Oberland Region primarily because we want to do the hike and bike ride in gimmelwald which was in Rick's tv show. We are having trouble deciding whether to stay in Wegen, Murren or Gimmelwald because we are finding that the trains in and out are very complicated and time consuming. any suggests regarding this?
Jenny 303-919-1742

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6888 posts

Interesting that you consider beautiful rides on small trains, gondolas, etc. to be complex. It's really very easy and very well coordinated. There are not time consuming either unless you want to take the train up to the Jungfrau. That run takes 1hr45min. Perhaps you are referring to getting to and from the B.O. from other places like Italy or France. Those runs do take several hours. But, IMHO, you won't regret it. Gimmelwald is reachable only by gondola. It's beautiful up there but it's not that large and is mostly a cow pasture. Hiking trails through the fields are great. Not sure that biking would be great there. Wengen is on the other side of the valley. You would have to go down the gondola, ride the bus to the Lauterbrunnen train station and then take the train up to Wengen. You might look at Muerren which is on the same side of the valley and just a gondola ride or a short uphill bike ride away. Or, you can stay in Lauterbrunnen. You have access to both sides of the valley for hiking and a great bike ride into Stechelberg or to Interlaken in the opposite direction.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6116 posts

If you want to do the bike ride that is in Rick's show, you would rent bikes in Mürren, so you might consider staying there. We like it a lot. Just be sure you are comfortable riding a bike downhill with brakes on---I don't find that fun at all and I'm an experienced mountain biker! But once you hit the valley floor the ride should be pleasant. The bike shop in Mürren has directions; nmake sure you understand and follow them so you do not get off on the difficult trails. Wengen is also a nice place to stay, with good access to the mannlichen ridge walk. But it is across the valley so you would have additional travel to the start of the bike ride. None of the train/cablecar/gondola rides in this area are complicated, but they do take time and cost money.

Posted by Adam
2923 posts

Gary or Jenny or whoever, I would suggest that the "complexity" need not concern you. Transportation in Switzerland is coordinated so you can buy a through ticket and make your connections without worrying about the entire transit network. For any of these destinations you might change in Lauterbrunnen for another train or bus or cable car. See the swiss rail site for schedules. The wonderful destinations you name are in the mountains (which is the point, no?) so trains and cable cars are slow there - they must gain a lot of altitude. Just pick the place you like best.

Posted by JB
Redding, CA, USA
1568 posts

The trains, gondola, cog train are an easy access to one another. Remember, Gimmelwald, Murren, Wengen and Lauterbrunnen are very close to one another. When you get there you will realize how close and accessible they are. Enjoy!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21504 posts

Gary / Jenny, As one of your main goals is to take the same bicycle ride shown on Rick's TV show, I'd suggest staying in Mürren (which is where that ride originates). When you get back from the ride, you'll be at your "home base". You could also stay in Gimmelwald, depending on what type of accommodations you want. Gimmelwald has one Pension and Hotel Mittaghorn, but most of the lodgings are small B&B's. Mürren has a much greater choice of accommodations, and provides more to do in the evenings. Wengen is on the other side of the valley, so wouldn't be nearly as convenient for doing that particular bike ride. Actually, the trains are not "complicated and time consuming". Could you elaborate on which aspect is confusing? Happy travels!

Posted by david
837 posts

I have not seen the show in question. However, as Lola has pointed out, if the ride is primarily on the valley floor, you will have to either ride down steep inclines or take the cable car from Murren level to Lauterbrunnen. You might want to check into renting bikes in Lauterbrunnen. Of the four place to stay, there are two which differ from the others. Lauterbrunnen is on the valley floor so does not have mountain views from the tops, but has great view up. It also is between the two cliffs. Cable cars go easily to the Murren/Gimmelwald side and a cog rail goes to Wengen. There are numerous hikes on each side. Gimmelwald is different since there is nothing there. As stated above, it is primarily a cow pasture. If you are primarily a backpacker, Gimmelwald may be fine. If you prefer a degree of civilization, you would probably prefer one of the other three.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21504 posts

@david, I believe This is the Biking Episode. One point to note is that the Funicular is no longer used for transportation from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp. It was replaced by a Cable Car a few years ago. Enjoy!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6116 posts

The video shows a funicular going up from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp. The funicular was causing damage and the tracks were removed in 2007, replaced with a cable car over the same route. If your first trip to the area was 2008 or later, you would not have experienced the funicular.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11682 posts

Ken, you need to post the link open - the snazzy editor has munched it after the question mark again... love this BB editor don't you?

Posted by Roger
Ravenna, OH, United States
21 posts

Stayed in Murren May 13-16, 2013 and twice walked down to Gimmelwald. While we really enjoyed lunch at the Mountain Hostel (next to cable car station) in Gimmelwald, I think you would find the added expense of cable car up to Murren, if you want to shop or eat at a variety of restaurants or even buy food at the Coop, might put a dent in your travel budget.
Gimmelwald is very beautiful and nice to visit but I am not sure if I would enjoy spending more than one night there. But that's just me. The bike rental wasn't open when we were in Murren so we walked to Gimmelwald, took cable car down to valley floor, walked the valley to Trummelbach Falls then on to Lauterbrunnen to catch cable car & train back to Murren. May sound like a lot of walking but even though I am out of shape it was a wonderful and amazingly beautiful day.

Posted by Nick
Oak Park
90 posts

We spent 4 nights in Murren last summer. It was an incredible trip. Murren is small but has a few restaurant options. Gimmelwald is tiny and we were glad that we did not stay there. Trains and gondolas are pretty easy as everyone has said. We went on few very challenging but rewarding hikes, let me know if you want details.